‘Black Voices Project’ chronicles race, citizenship of African-​​American community

It was June, and Lola Aking­bade was in Fer­guson, Mis­souri, looking to cap­ture the zeit­geist in the wake of civil unrest. Unarmed black teenager Michael Brown had been killed by white police officer Darren Wilson on the streets of this quaint St. Louis suburb just nine months ago, sparking riots and calls for police reform.

“I was angry,” said Aking­bade, a third-​​year stu­dent ofrhetoric and behav­ioral neu­ro­science at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, “but I also wanted to har­ness my edu­ca­tion to make a pos­i­tive impact in the community.”

Aking­bade attended talks and ral­lies, seeking out African-​​Americans with keen per­spec­tives on policing, protesting, and polit­ical rep­re­sen­ta­tion. And then she inter­viewed them in a rented office space in the heart of down­town St. Louis, asking insightful ques­tions of some two dozen con­cerned cit­i­zens, mil­i­tary vet­erans, com­mu­nity activists, youth orga­nizers, faith leaders, and non­profit CEOs.

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